Starting fresh, what would you buy?

Hi all,

I am moving into a new house an an opportunity to start fresh. Currently I have Arlo cameras, Schlage Z-wave door locks, and GE Zigbee switches through the house. I use a Nexx garage door opener (which I hate BTW) and have multiple aeotech sirens. I cant remember who makes all my door and window sensors. Lastly I have Hunter Douglas motorized shades.

If you look at that list, what would you change? I am less worried about the price than I am about doing it right the first time. Are there better alternatives to that list of what I currently have above? Any recommendations or feedback would be great.

Thanks,

Kerry

I would look long and hard at installing a full Lutron system (switches, dimmers, fan controllers, window shades, pico remotes, etc...) Incredible reliability and performance. And, it integrates so easily with Hubitat, as well as many other systems.

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For lighting: Lutron RadioRA 2 for reliability and features. Lutron Caséta for reliability. Zigbee or Z-Wave for features.

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Everything in the above two posts...and I'll finally say Zigbee before Zwave. I won't get into an argument here...but just search around on this forum between the two and I think you'll clearly see which one has more reliability issues. Lutron system with zigbee motion sensors!

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This is exactly the bulk of my system... I have 50+ Zigbee devices and 50+ Lutron devices. Incredibly stable and fast. I replaced all of my Z-Wave devices with Lutron Caseta and have never been happier. Automations based on Zigbee Motion and Contact sensors, that trigger different lighting just work, each time, every time.

On a different train from the Lutron gang here, I’d go all Inovelli and RGBGenie. Seriously. Associations and the likes have saved me from so many worries, to a point where I have no reliability worries at all. If something happens to my hub—whether it’s a chatty device or a bad rule, or someone with a hammer — devices talking directly to each other are amazing, and the prices are on-point, too.

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For lighting, Lutron RadioRA 2 if you can afford it, if not Lutron Caseta. Lutron is super reliable and works as expected virtually every time.

Zigbee motion and contact sensors, because they tend to respond faster than Z-Wave.

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I have no experience with Lutron, but am intrigued by your endorsements. It looks like Lutron uses its own wireless protocol (Lutron Clear Connect RF). Lutron devices would therefore not serve as Zigbee/Z-Wave repeaters, correct? Some of my motion sensors are at some distance from the hub and would therefore need a few non-Lutron repeaters, correct?

Correct.

Correct

These Iris 3210-L2 outlets are excellent Zigbee repeaters, and also do 'ok' as Z-Wave repeaters for most folks.

https://teamequip.com/iris/

You can buy a single lot of 10 outlets for $75, which should provide excellent coverage for a pretty large home. I have one of these plugged-in in many rooms/hallways of my house.

Good question Simon. I was checking out the Lutron site last night and had the same exact question. I couldn't find any details about Zigbee devices at all on their site. They just list everything as being "RF" based. If anyone has details please let us know.

I had a new build house and used GE switches for my lights. This was of course before I was really doing more research into things, but I don't have any complaints with the GE/Jasco switches.

In regards to the garage door opener, I would suggest making your own. I made one using a relay and a smart outlet (I also had to get a backup button since I have a Security2.0 motor), but that was a fun and simple project [it did require some soldering to the backup button]

In regards to your shades, do you want to control that through HE? I have Somfy blinds and used a ZEN16 to control them through HE. For me it was fun to come up with the rules to control it all.

Overall I would say take it a step at a time. Hit the low hanging fruit (switches/door lock) and expand out from there. What degree of automation do you want? I personally wanted the switches so I could turn off the lights without having to go to another room. Then as time went on, I began automating certain doors/lights for QOL. Then I added some stuff just because I could (LED strips).

Lutron uses their own proprietary protocol called Clear Connect RF. It is NOT a mesh protocol, however they do have some options for adding a repeater device to improve coverage if necessary. I have a ~2700 square foot home, and I have zero issues with Lutron devices communicating properly. The frequency of Clear Connect is significantly lower than Zigbee and Z-Wave, meaning it travels through walls much better.

Lutron 'just works' - every time, without fail. If you search through these forums, you will see why so many users recommend Lutron versus Z-wave for lighting. Once you pair a Lutron switch, dimmer, fan controller, pico remote, etc... to the Lutron SmartBridge Pro2, or RadioRA2, the devices will just work. You will not have to go back and re-pair things. These devices do not 'repeat' for one another, so losing one will not hurt the rest like it does in a true mesh protocol.

For more details - https://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/Clear_Connect_Technology_whitepaper.pdf

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Like @SimonVB mentioned, Lutron uses a proprietary protocol called ClearConnect, in the 400 MHz range I believe. No relation at all to z-wave or zigbee.

I'm chipping away at outfitting a house I recently bought, it's been fun starting up from scratch:

  • all Inovelli for light switches/dimmers
  • Sengled for any bulbs I might get, although trying to keep smart bulbs limited to LED strips for ambience or under cabinets
  • Many Iris v2 items, smart plugs for mesh help and things like washing machine, xmas tree lights etc, motion sensors, contact sensors
  • Centralite Pearl thermostat
  • Konnected to tie into existing security panel (Vista 20P iirc)
  • Arlo video doorbell
  • oh, and a Samsung button, for the wife's nightstand so she can shut everything off at night (except her reading lamp) :slight_smile:

Am avoiding Lutron and Hue for now.

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Another vote for Lutron.

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Lutron caseta for switches. Zigbee for sensors and Sengled for all smart bulbs.
Rigth now I have around 95% Caseta switches, 90% zigbee sensors and 90% Hue bulbs.

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Looks like lots of support for Lutron. I’ve avoided them because of the proprietary RF. When I first started home automation I got started with Insteon. I ended up pissed off because I was so locked into one vendor. I kinda see the same with Lutron right? If they decide against integration into a new hub or other piece of equipment I buy I’m out of luck. Where Zigbee switches will work with everything. Also, if the Lutron hub goes down, you lose access to every switch right? Or am I looking at this wrong?

You’re not looking at it wrong... However, Lutron is not Insteon. Lutron is a hell of an engineering company, used in commercial, high-end residential, and ‘normal’ residential applications. They’re not going away any time soon.

One Lutron Caseta SmartBridge Pro hub can be integrated with multiple home automation platforms AT THE SAME TIME...which is a pretty big plus in my book. You can have all of your switches, dimmers, fan controllers integrated directly with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Hubitat, SmartThings, Home Assistant, Node-RED, Ecobee, Sonos, Logitech Harmony hub, and more - all at the same time - independently. You can even integrate Lutron with multiple Hubitat hubs at once - no need for HubConnect to share these devices.

This is why I feel it is one of the most future-proofed platforms on the market. You’re not really just buying switches and dimmers...you’re buying a Lutron lighting system.

And...Lutron just works...every time. No mesh network problems whatsoever.

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Is Lutron RA2 compatible with Homekit?

This may answer your RadioRA2 question.

https://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/Integrating_HomeKit_with_RA2_and_HWQS.pdf

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